ANNIHILATE THIS WEEK hits every Weekend (Saturday or Sunday) with the intent of covering important new releases — grouping short reviews for albums, EPs and demos selected from the current week’s best. These albums were overlooked for more detailed review for any number of reasons, I’m either low on time or the music itself doesn’t warrant depth of inquiry or require too-serious engagement. I do my best to cover as much of everything I receive in some form regardless of genre or representation, so, don’t hesitate to send anything and everything my way: firstname.lastname@example.org
The twenty-seventh week of 2021 is highlighted by vexing black metal, traditional blasphemic black metal, power pop, obscure death metal, several other kinds of black metal, experimental doom/sludge variants, and a generally unsettling vibe with few major highlight releases. If you’re not into the selection this time around, relax! This’ll be back every 7 days with five more new releases from different styles, genres, etc.
The Album of the Week for my own taste is uh, nothing. Yes, for the first time in four years I cannot find a single album released this week that is “Album of the Week” material for my own taste. I’ve got a bunch of great albums to talk about here but, this week’s releases were not essential for my own taste. All is void.
Thank you! I am eternally grateful for the support of readers and appreciate friendly and positive interactions. Think my opinions are trash and that I suck? Want to totally tell me off, bro? Click away and let’s all live more sensible lives full of meaningful interactions. Onto the reviews:
|RELEASE DATE:||July 2nd, 2021|
|LABEL(S):||Dark Descent Records|
The debut full-length from Icelandic black metal quintet Mannveira is not the sprawling and spraying burst oil pipeline one might expect considering these folks have most all been involved in shaping the Reykjavík-centric black metal sound these last ten years. Instead we get a very singular, hollowed soul of a recording (via D.G. of Misþyrming, with mastering from Árni of Árstíðir lífsins) halted by the walls and drowning in the lung-dripping poison they shed shambling at mid-to-slow pace. Formed by ex-Abacination bassist (and now expressive vocalist) Illugi in 2010, this group has evolved largely in the shadows preceding ‘Vitahríngur‘ giving us a typical-yet-evolved EP in 2014 and a split with the long silent Ellorsith a couple of years later that’d shown a great deal of characteristic development but still a sort of expected palette to work with. Here we have a sound that communicates its distress at the edge of a steady pulsing movement, almost reminiscent of pagan black metal but perhaps better associated with Andavald or Almyrkvi but with a bit of the shaking emotional lows of modern music we find young groups like Forsmán. Point being that we are getting a sound that is doomed, mid-paced and far from typical for Icelandic black metal beyond some ringing chords and sinister-yet-shimmering elegance in presentation. At just 36 minutes this is both a demanding listen and a perfectly succinct one, the major statements of finesse happen in the first few pieces (especially “Ópin rjúfa þögnina”) and the bulk of the album establishes every corner of their atmospheric reach. Whether Mannveira are exploring cleaner ‘rock’ textures or depressive black metal melodicism there is suffocation and oppression involved that is probably even better conveyed via these relatively crisp, richly textured recordings. The blend of surrealistic guitar arrangements and an accessible sort of dark rock freakery that runs through ‘Vitahríngur‘ makes it a strong full listen but not all that memorable to start. With some diligent listening I’d found it affecting but also highly entertaining as a downward spiraling mood.
|RELEASE DATE:||July 9th, 2021|
Marras is an idiosyncratic Finnish black metal band heavily focused on the atmospheric climes and raw distress of the mid-90’s. Formed sometime before 2019 the band includes members of Förgjord, Mimorium and Necrocrist SS and all this should suggest is that the keyboard work is especially well placed and the vocals are fiery insanity, envenomed pain and surreal cathedral-burning mannerisms that push beyond auld Finnish black metal standards and bring their own wilderness to this second record. That might sound somewhat typical but, no I’d say Marras have cracked, blurred away from the comfort of their first album into an unsettling, sickening lo-fi sort of haunt for ‘Endtime Sermon’ and I’d found myself appreciating it more with each listen. My favorite records in this style have a sort of face and a fascia, where the attitude and style is outrageous up front but a a skin deep listen reveals an unhealthy amount of detail and I’d felt Marras found an unholy medium here between abrasive bluster and atmospheric wonder that lends itself well to many listens.
|TITLE:||Paradox of a Broken World|
|RELEASE DATE:||July 9th, 2021|
Baltimore, Maryland solo black metal artist Michael Connors is back with his fourth full-length under the Unendlich name and this time around he has managed to get the balance of aggression and melodicism honed to a fluidic sort of propulsive zone that’d been so often interrupted on the previous two records. It all still comes from his distinct mélange of Scandinavia-built and USBM appropriated traits but, for ‘Paradox of a Broken World’ Connors has taken more of a homebrewed melodic approach overall, (I’d guess) programming the drums and self-releasing the album with the only major outsource of talent being the fine work of Lawrence Mackrory for the render. Most of these pieces are yet thrashing in movement but anthemic in their melodic development, subtle but blustering stretches of rasping hard but stiff-necked attack with plenty of intricate guitar work embedded with modest, middle of the mix keyboards that rarely break out as key instrument ’til things slow down (see: “Into Abandonment”). Because this album views its subject matter with frustration yet presents it with often brimming melodic enthusiasm the effect is less than surreal, but I’d still had a good time kind of bopping to songs like “Inner Kill” since they’ve this sort of heavy rock/melodeath feeling when the solos start to fling around. Though I found the album overly long and heavy handed with some of its keyboard accoutrement there is a Dark Fortress or Naglfar sort of charm here that is well and above a lot of Unendlich‘s past work — I’d enjoyed my time with ‘Paradox of a Broken World’ each time I engaged with it.
|TITLE:||War is Peace//Peace is Slavery|
|RELEASE DATE:||July 9th, 2021|
|LABEL(S):||Transcending Obscurity Records|
Wrocław, Poland-based sludge/doom metal monolith 71TonMan are a band you might remember from their 2017 release via Black Bow Records, a label known for their raw and overblown sludge extremist cadre and this first release with Transcending Obscurity Records does nothing to wipe that grimy image away as this ‘War is Peace//Peace is Slavery’ EP presents three ear-clobbering sludge pits of shouting and growling pit churn. The pitch for their sound in the past has been death metal heavy grit set to psychedelic doom movement and well, there isn’t much to say new here beyond even more of a focus on their sort of extreme metal adjacent sludge metal sound. It could all be more distorted, more miserable, and such but as is I think 71TonMan can still hope to catch the ear of open minded stoner/doom metal fans alongside the sludge metal pain gluttons. Better than average stuff.
|RELEASE DATE:||July 13th, 2021|
The fourth full-length from New York’s Dimentianon does a fantastic job of resurrecting their surreal take on blackened death/doom metal which just isn’t going to be a breeze to describe in terms of other bands or their past work in other projects. This band might’ve officially formed in 2002 but largely beyond late 90’s USBM band The Forgotten who were, eh, not great based off of that first album but eventually got it together for three solid albums under a new name. The main draw here for me is this history shared between band members going back forever, specifically Joe Fogarazzo of Rigor Sardonicus and Paragon Records/ex-Sectioned vocalist M. Z., they work together in strange ways that you’re just not going to find anywhere else, treading fearlessly beyond normative thought, always questioning the convictions of the listener. Hey, plus they’ve added Evoken‘s keyboardist Don Zaros here for these psychedelic alien gothic doom moments (see: “Beyond the Scree”) which I’d found fascinating as a sort of trade-off between zombified and menacing narrative, all of it kind of building up to “The Infinite Talisman” which apparently themes itself around séance and communication with the dead. Right, so we’re in the dusty corner of the record shop the clerk is always keeping an eye on because his band (or his friends band) is stocked over there and the recommendation nuke is about to hit when you buy it, the best place to find passion for underground music beyond a shitty church basement show or whatever. The best songs here for my own taste lean into a black/doom metal sound “The Path Less Travelled” and “Dwelling Into Madness” in particular for the early Sadness (or, Tiamat) kind of vibe. You might have to be the type who is always on the lookout for something off-kilter to angle into Dimentianon‘s discography properly but this album does eventually prove itself something else.
|RELEASE DATE:||July 9th, 2021|
Kharkiv, Ukraine-based band Elderblood are best known as a symphonic satanic black metal band fronted by former Nokturnal Mortum guitarist Astargh but for thier third full-length album, ‘Achrony’, they’ve eased away the flamboyance of their (quite good) keyboard work while keeping their Emperor-influenced compositions largely in tact otherwise. It would be fair to say they’ve “modernized” in terms of heightened guitar technique, co-guitarist Staggaret shreds all over this album, but we’ve not lost the bold melodic arcs that Elderblood had become known for over the last ten or so years. Even if I have literally heard several thousand records in this style there is yet room to be impressed by the craft and if we give ‘Achrony’ a change to reveal its purpose and often lofty musical values there is a lot to love here. “Holy Plague” could be a reminder of the anthemic late 90’s supercharged guitar wrack out of Norway at the time but for me it recalls discovering kind of fringe groups like Aeba and Kataxu through blind ordering from distro/trade catalogues, getting an earful of Casio keyboard and eventually loving it. Ah well, the purpose of the album is to illustrate the decline of human society and we needn’t look deeper than the cover art to figure where the blame is placed. Matching this message with music that has some real gusto and conviction in its attack is still a powerful thing to behold no matter the era or callback. A fine record that will prove any low first impressions wrong quickly, I only wish they’d found room for more of their symphonic aspect.
CHECK THESE OUT TOO
- HINSIDES – Under Betlehems brinnande stjärna [July 9th, Shadow Records]
- PSYCHIC HIT – Solutio [July 9th, Seeing Red Records]
- DOUBTSOWER – Asphyxiation of a Seasick Soul [July 9th, UBAii]
- MADS CHRISTENSEN – 5212 Helvete [July 9th, Edged Circle]
- ONIRICA – Burn the Ashes [July 12th, Vacula/BMC Productions]
- HAMMERS OF MISFORTUNE – The Bastard [July 9th, Cruz Del Sur Music] Reissue
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